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Published on March 12th, 2016 | by admin

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Month In Review- February 2016

BUSINESS

> Oryx Properties’ revenue totalled N$147 million in the six months ending December 31 2015. Revenue was N$128 million in the same period in 2014. Oryx’s property portfolio includes Maerua Mall shopping centre and the Gustav Voigts Centre in Windhoek.

> Atterbury announced plans to build a new shopping mall costing N$650 million at Walvis Bay in cooperation with Safland. Dunes Mall, expected to open in 2017, will be the second largest mall in Namibia after Grove in Windhoek.

> FNB Namibia Holdings declared an interim dividend of 91 cents for the six months ending December 2015. Non-interest income increased by 15.6 percent to N$744.2 million (2014: N$643.9 million).

> Minister of Mines Obeth Kandjoze said a law would be passed within the next year compelling mining firms to have a minimum 20 percent stake reserved for the previously disadvantaged before prospecting and mining licences can be issued or renewed.

> Despite depressed commodity prices, the Namibian mining industry has created more jobs than it has lost, according to the Chamber of Mines of Namibia.

> Arandis Power instituted a lawsuit against government after Xaris Energy was granted preferred bidder status for the NamPower tender for a new power plant. Meanwhile a technical report commissioned by government found that Xaris’s proposal was expensive and other less-costly, lower-risk power generation options should be considered.

> Namibia is set to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) this year – although parliament still has to ratify the deal. The signing will put at rest fears that key sectors of the economy may lose preferential access to the European market.

POLITICS

• Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein cut back on planned spending in the 2016/17 budget in the face of a burgeoning debt problem and the troubled global economy. (above)

• Schlettwein said government debt had risen sharply from N$35.9 billion in 2014/5 to an estimated N$59.8 billion by the end of the 2015/16 financial year and now amounts to 37 percent of GDP.

• Government plans to spend N$66 billion in the 2016/17 financial year, which is N$5 billion lower than the expenditure of N$71.2 billion that had been projected for 2016/17.

• President Hage Geingob opened the third session of the Sixth Parliament and called MPs to ensure 2016 was a “year of implementation”. He said his Harambee Plan for Prosperity would be unveiled in April.

• The Law Reform and Development Commission presented a draft law based on the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) that will force all new businesses to have a minimum 25 percent shareholding held by the previously disadvantaged.

• Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila blocked a discussion of whether a controversial new parliament building was necessary in the National Assembly.

• Defence Minister Penda ya Ndakolo paid back N$186,000 of the N$630,000 that was used by the government to pay for his accommodation at a Windhoek hotel for six months in 2015.

• The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) dismissed a government proposal to reduce the size of the civil service by lowering the retirement age to 50 as unfair to older workers.

• The Poverty Eradication Ministry said a proposal for the introductionof a Basic Income Grant would soon be tabled at Cabinet for discussion and approval.

• Namibian Broadcasting Corporation chief commercial officer Alex Shimuafeni was appointed as the new Statistician General as of April 1 2016.

• Several hundred former members of the apartheid security forces marched to Parliament to demand to be recognised as war veterans and receive benefits like those given to those who fought on side of Swapo. DTA President McHenry Venaani joined the protest.

SOCIETY AND SPORT

#With Windhoek’s water supply expected to run out in the second half of 2016, the City of Windhoek said it would have to increase extraction from the Windhoek aquifer by drilling more boreholes. (above)

#Fifteen people died in a head-on collision between a minibus and a truck on the Ondangwa-Oshivelo main road.

#More than 700 Namibians at Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana who do not wish to return to Namibia are fighting their case in the Botswana High Court. Ditshwanelo, a Botswana human rights groups, said it would be unsafe for the refugees to return to Namibia.

#A recent malaria outbreak in the north has claimed nine lives so far, Health Minister Bernard Haufiku said. Over 400 people have been infected. The outbreak came as Namibia received an award from the African Leaders Malaria Alliance for progress made towards eliminating the mosquito-borne disease.

#The Walvis Bay Corridor Group offered a reward of N$500,000 to anyone who provides information leading to the recovery of a truckload of copper that was stolen from the Walvis Bay port. The copper, weighing 34 tonnes, is worth N$2.5 million.

#Johannes Mostert (53), who is accused of keeping a private arsenal of weapons at his farm near Osire, was charged with contravening the anti-terrorism law.

#Food production plummeted with only 21 percent of national cereal requirements currently being met through local production, according to a report released by the Agriculture Ministry.

#The formerchief executive officer of the Electricity Control Board and permanent secretary of Mines and Energy Siseho Simasiku (69) passed away after several months of ill-health.

#Veteran medical doctor and community activist at Rehoboth, Dr Franz Stellmacher (77), passed away.

#Hundreds of people participated in Operation Omake events by clearing riverbeds around the country in a bid to reduce crime, particularly gender-based violence.

#Vera Adrian won the women’s road race at the Africa Cycling Championships in Casablanca, Morocco and became the first Namibian female cyclist to qualify for the Olympics.

#Namibia came seventh in the under-19 cricket world cup in Bangladesh, after beating Nepal in a play-off. Namibia now qualifies automatically for the next world cup in 2018.

ECONOMY

-The annual inflation rate for January increased to 5.3 percent from 3.7 percent in December, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency. Inflation in January 2015 was 4.5 percent.

-The Bank of Namibia increased the rate at which it lends to commercial banks by 25 basis points to 6.75 percent.

-Simonis Storm Securities said inflation would continue to rise during 2016. Food prices will increase due to the decline in the value of the rand and the regional drought. Consumers will face further pressure from rising interest rates – with several hikes expected this year.

-Namibian debt (comprising domestic and foreign government, corporate and household debt) grew by 16.56 percent to N$118.6 billion in 2015, said Simonis Storm Securities in a report.


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